Sunday 17th November 2019 Prayer Devotion
Scripture Reading:- 1 Kings 1:1-10
Topic:- It’s Just A Matter Of Time
Text:- 1 Kings 1:4
And my father was alone in the house. The reality of our mortal decline. Earlier this month, I traveled home for a burial of a woman who stood up to be counted when I needed her about 23 years ago.
On getting to my hometown, I went to our house before going for the wake-keep. With me was a colleague, Raheem Akingbolu.
On entering the premises, a sprawling bungalow of over 12 rooms, the sound of silence hit me like hurricane. Everywhere was quiet. Except for errant ruminant animals feasting on leaves and hens preparing for roost, it was nature at its tranquil best.
I entered the house. On his favourite couch was my father having a nap. He was alone in the house at that time. Ever vigilant, he felt my presence and came back to reality. On all fours, I offered my greetings. In his manner, he asked after everybody:
“Omo ni siko? At’eye ran? S’o i gbero ira rin han?” (How about those kids and their mum? Hope you are hearing from your siblings). I told him everyone fine.
And he became lively. From church to town matters; from politics to family issues; we touched everything. He was obviously glad to see me after almost a year. And that was when the ephemeralty of life hit me.
Here was a man who once filled me with awe. His presence usually sent jitters down my spines in my formative years.
A beneficiary of the Jerome Udoji windfall of mid 70s as a teacher, my father acquired one Yamaha 80 motor bike before later getting his first car. The sound of the bike my siblings and I could recognise among 200 other bikes. Ever playful, the sound of my father’s motorcycle usually brought out the good children in us; that which we usually jettisoned whenever he was out.
But he was never deceived. Our heavy breathing when called upon (which he usually did upon arrival in the house) would always give us away. And then some inescapable canning would follow.
Yet, he was always protective. If we went to the farm on a Saturday (he was hardly available on weekends due to different meetings) and did come back on time, he would be worried.
Yet, we would likely be beaten upon arrival for staying late in the farm. Whereas, he was initially worried not seeing us on time. And if we killed a game in the farm, the last we would see of it was when we brought it home.
I grew up with many extended family members living with us. It was always a full house. But a passage of time has changed all that. Check this out:
The baby of the family (actually my half sister) is about getting married. Yet, she was a two year-old toddler when I entered university. The second to the last born got married last year.
From one big family 30 years ago, virtually everyone has moved on to start his or her own life and raise his or her own family.
As we were GROWING, my father was DECLINING. A harsh reality of life. As he aged, his INFLUENCE, CONTROL and POWER over us began to wane.
From scampering to safety upon hearing the sound of his motorbike, he is the one who is happy seeing us. Even calling if he didn’t hear from us on time.
Today, the sound of my approaching car will naturally make him feel excited. Yet, 40 years ago, the sound of his own motorbike always filled me with trepidation. Then I saw him as my NEMESIS. Today, I am his GLORY.
Time has a way of humbling us; of restating our mortality and reminding us how ACTUALLY feeble we are. As we age, our limbs become weak. We have our cravings but physical limitations ensure they remain what they are: mere cravings.
Today, many of us run our kids’ lives. If the school bus does not bring them on time, we pick our phone to call. We protect them as if the world out there will swallow them.
Yet, one day, these kids will tell us in clear terms, that they don’t need us again, except our prayers. They start their own lives and the cycle continues: protecting their own kids the way we protected them.
How many of us actually imagine our lives in 30 years time? At about 80, my father is close to his twilight.
That is the inevitable reality, passage of time, has brought upon him. I knew how active and agile he was at my current age.
His feeble voice and frail body (as I entered the living room that Friday afternoon) reminded me of the inevitability of my own decline.
It is just a matter of time…
Prayer Point:- Oh Lord God, always give me the understanding and remembrance that I will die one day, in the name of Jesus Christ.
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